UFC 209 Technique Analysis: Heavyweight- Alistair Overeem vs Mark Hunt 2.
It’s 2017 and we’re still talking about Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem taking on each other in a matchup that represents a battle of the divisional elite. The Heavyweight division is a weird place folks, especially considering the fact that every time a young gun tries to make a splash in the weight-class, said prospect is pummeled into oblivion by names that were a staple of the division during the days when Pride FC was the world’s top MMA organisation.
Furthermore, the current HW champion, Stipe Miocic, will be turning 35 this August, which just goes to show how the HW division differs from most lighter-weight-classes in terms of the average age of its competitors.
At UFC 209, we get a rematch 9 years in the making, between two HW legends both of whom excelled not only in the sport of MMA but kickboxing as well. In the blue corner, we have Kiwi legend Mark Hunt who, ever since his UFC 200 decision loss to Brock Lesnar, has been in a highly publicised legal battle with the UFC head-honchos.
And in the red corner, we have the Anglo-Dutch behemoth Alistair Overeem who is coming off a brutal KO loss in a failed UFC Heavyweight title bid, against the reigning champ Miocic.
In terms of pure combat, Hunt-Overeem is an excellent matchup and if you’re someone who loves watching striking battles, you’re in for an absolute treat.
However, what adds a comical twist to this fight is that after fighting 3 proven steroid cheats in a row, one of the main reasons for Hunt’s lawsuit against the UFC, the company has matched him up with yet another proven drug-test failure in Overeem. Nevertheless, let’s understand the clash of styles in this battle of giants.
Mark Hunt’s boxing vs Alistair Overeem’s
Dutch Kick-boxing Jackson-Wink-styled chin conservation striking:
MMA striking has always been subject to criticism from striking purists, professional boxers and coaches in particular. However, the main reason behind the deviation of MMA striking from the traditional principles of the striking arts is due to the inclusion of grappling, the takedown-threat in particular, in MMA competition.
That said, one of the rare MMA fighters to have successfully utilised an old-school boxing stance and traditional mechanics over the course of a long and storied career, is ‘The Super Samoan’ Mark Hunt.
Not only does the Kiwi legend possess one-punch Walk-off-KO power, but he’s also blessed with cat-like reflexes, excellent footwork, great head-movement (in the pocket as well as at long range) and an expert understanding of distance and timing.
On the other hand, we’ve had the privilege of witnessing several different versions of ‘The Reem’ as a fighter, from his days as a lanky Dutch-kickboxing stylist to the horse-meat eating Strikeforce behemoth.
What we have now is a post-drug test failure, post-USADA version of
Ubereem ‘Mediumreem’, who fights smartly, conserving his chin by avoiding prolonged exchanges in the pocket.
In spite of being mocked by fellow-Dutch strikers such as legendary coach Henri Hooft, Tyrone Spong and many others, Overeem has stuck to his new style of in-and-out striking, a style that he’s carefully honed during his time at the Jackson-Wink academy in Albuquerque, NM. He carries legit KO power in his punches, kicks, knees as well as elbow strikes, making him one of the most complete strikers in the sport’s history.
Look for Hunt to parry Reem’s kicks, countering him at every opportunity he gets. Kicks drain your cardio more than punches, so watch Hunt, utilise his hands to try and touch his opponent’s battle-worn chin.
Overeem resorts to constant stance-switching and depending on which stance he enters the pocket with, Hunt can counter him with either of his two best strikes- The Left-Hook and The Right-Uppercut/Hook Hybrid.
Reem likes the hop-stepping left-hook, wherein he uses the textbook left hook setup by stepping to his left, but goes one step further and instead of merely pivoting to the right, Reem switches his stance completely by placing his right leg in front of his left.
Reem used this trick to cover that precious extra-space coming in from long range, to land a picture-perfect shifting left-hook on Junior Dos Santos. Regardless of what strike the Dutchman throws, every time he enters striking range, Hunt’s fists will be waiting for him.
Sensei Tiger says: Striking edge goes to Hunt. Basics beat flashiness.